El Putin de Arabia

BEIRUT – Casi sin que nadie se dé cuenta, Rusia está recuperando gran parte de la influencia que perdió en el Medio Oriente tras la caída de la Unión Soviética. Desde que Rusia invadió Georgia en agosto, en la televisión por satélite y los sitios Web árabes proliferan las discusiones sobre el papel de la religión en una “nueva Guerra Fría”. ¿En verdad ha vuelto el patrocinador de los árabes durante la Guerra Fría? Y de ser así, ¿qué significa eso para la paz en la región?

Con la caída de la URSS terminó también la ideología comunista, que los musulmanes creen que contradice su fe. El comunismo nunca evitó que los regímenes árabes que se oponían a los Estados Unidos aceptaran armas de los rusos de la era soviética, pero sí impidió que los rusos obtuvieran la clase de influencia profunda que Estados Unidos había conseguido sobre sus aliados regionales. Ahora, incluso los islamistas ven con buenos ojos el regreso de Rusia como actor regional a fin de fortalecer su lucha contra la hegemonía estadounidense y curiosamente se olvidan de la brutal represión rusa contra los musulmanes chechenos en los años noventa.

Esta es una inversión total del patrón que prevalecía en los años cincuenta. En ese entonces, los Estados Unidos apoyaron al Islam como un baluarte contra el comunismo. Sus aliados en el Medio Oriente, sobre todo Arabia Saudita, justificaban la influencia de Estados Unidos basándose en que los estadounidenses eran cristianos y, por lo tanto, parte de Ahl el-Kitab (los Pueblos del Libro). A los soviéticos se les atacaba continuamente como enemigos peligrosos de Dios.

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